JONESBORO — The Jonesboro City Council on Monday unanimously approved the annexation of more than 38 acres into the city intended for an expansion and new headquarters building for LTI Inc.
LTI, formerly Low Temp Industries, is a third-generation owned and operated food service equipment manufacturer based in Jonesboro since 1947. With approximately 200,000 square feet of current manufacturing space, the business serves customers across the country and employs about 170 people.
LTI is looking to expand its business and build a new corporate headquarters building, said Ben Casey, grandson of the company’s founder and current president and CEO. He brought a proposal to annex 38.67 acres south of their existing property and rezone the new property from mainly H1, historic district, to M1, or light industrial district. About 0.47 acres included in the parcel will be rezoned to C1, neighborhood commercial district.
The new property is bordered by Tara Boulevard to the west and South Main Street to the east and extends from LTI’s current property at 9192 Tara Blvd. to Old Poston Road. It also includes the annexation of two existing, neighboring businesses, Hilltop Pools and Spas and Bowen & Son AAA service, both on South Main Street.
“One of the things when we started thinking about expanding our business — and really thinking about where we wanted to be located in the future — is part of our biggest success has been our employees and the people that continue to help us grow,” Casey told the council during a special called meeting Monday.
He said his employees are based locally, and the company didn’t want to uproot their families. Jonesboro has also played an important part of LTI’s 70-year history, he said.
“Jonesboro has really been important to us,” Casey said. “We’ve called it home. Our customers know that Jonesboro’s home.”
The plans for the new building include a 60,100-square-foot office, 56 rooms for customer and employee training, and 152,000 square feet of manufacturing space.
“Part of our reasoning for expanding this was to have a ‘wow factor,’” Casey said. “This would be a headquarters building that we could bring people to and let them know it’s not just manufacturing space.”
According to documents submitted to the council, the business would operate 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for office personnel and 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday for skilled production personnel. There would be a single, gated entrance to include truck deliveries, which are expected 10 to 25 times per week and limited to business hours.
No emissions or excessive noise are expected from the business’s operation.
“It all looks wonderful,” Mayor Joy Day said of Casey’s plans.
Also included in the annexation and rezoning request was a variance request to be exempt from having two points of access, frontage sidewalks and street lighting along Tara Boulevard, and the ability to utilize barbed wire in specific areas not visible from the right of way. Other requests regarded requirements for the building’s facade.
All variance requests were also unanimously approved by the council at the recommendation of city staff and the mayor.
“Welcome to Jonesboro,” Day said to Casey at the close of the meeting. The annexations are set to take effect Dec. 1.